Posts Tagged social media

Sportsmen 2.0 : The use of twitter by sportsmen

Antoine Harari

For many people, Twitter is little more than just another social network that was added after the Facebook frenzy. This is why more than a quarter of the 500 millions users possess inactive accounts. However, as this article demonstrates, sportsmen of all kind capitalised on the opportunities Twitter provides. Far from being a hindrance, the ability to only use 140 characters actually suits sportsmen, as it replicates the standard answer given in a post match interview. It was initially sold to them as an excellent way to promote their career and strengthen their relationship with their fan base, and by adding pictures of themselves in their daily lives, it allowed fans to relate to these figures that were, in many ways, just like them. Here lies one of the numerous twitter paradoxes: in a world where sportsmen are more protected than ever before, Twitter provides a way of infiltrating their star life.

There is also a negative side to the technology however, and Twitter has also provided a clear demonstration that athletes should think twice before ‘shooting from the hip’. and writing what they think. The number of headlines created by sportsmen’s tweets are already hard to count, one thing is certain: for some football players, the microblogging website is a way to shout out loud what they are thinking at any time of the day.

Football’s two most famous examples are Joey Barton and Rio Ferdinand.

@Joey7Barton

There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

Joey Barton official twitter account

 

Rio Ferdinand official Twitter Account

 

The impact on the franchise’s public relation :

Given the professionalisation of sport franchises, football club’s internal policies are regularly breached by their players’ emotional tweets and their communication strategies are severely compromised. A recent example is the football player Djibril Cissé who got offended by the reamark from one of his supporters  suggesting that he couldn’t hit “a cow’s a** with a banjo.” Cissé then tweeted the exact address of his club’s training ground and invited the supporter to: “come and have a little chat.” This is a story which resembles the scandal involving Wayne Rooney, who threatened to silence, permanently, a Liverpool supporter who insulted him via his Twitter account.

‘I will put u asleep within 10 seconds hope u turn up if u don’t gonna tell everyone ur scared u little nit. I’ll be waiting.’


Though the majority of these tweets are uninteresting, some of them have put entire national federations into trouble. The most recent episode was the clash between John Terry and Anton Ferdinand; the story started with the accusation of Rio’s brother Anton that the Chelsea defender had racially abused him.

The story became so big that Ashley Cole and Rio Ferdinand were soon implicated. The first intervened in support of John Terry but his testimony was deemed untrustworthy by the English Federation.  Angered by the decision of the FA, Ashley Cole tweeted : “Oh yeaaaah that’s right I lied.. Bunch of t****”. Although he and his club presented their apologies almost immediately, Cole was condemned to pay a £130,000 fine. In the meantime, infuriated by Cole’s testimony, Rio Ferdinand labelled him a “Choc Ice”, a slang term denoting a black man with ‘white’ sympathies. Many London newspapers talked about the story for weeks and to say that it didn’t look good is an understatement. In Switzerland there was a similar affair during the Olympics, when a Swiss national player in the bitterness of a loss against South Korea lost his sense and tweeted :

“I want to beat up all South Koreans ! Bunch of mentally handicapped retards ! ”

Immediately after the outburst, the player’s account was closed  and he was banned from the national team.

Morganella twitter outburst

The use of companies to maintain ghost accounts :

The increasing influence of sportsmen leads to an expansion in their marketing potential, not slow to envisage the effect Twitter could have,  sponsors soon realised the potential lying behind specific accounts, and the vast swathes of population they could interact with. With 14 million followers, Cristiano Ronaldo is among the highest profile football tweeters.Not surprisingly, Cristiano Ronaldo is regularly advertising Nike products directly on Twitter, complete with pictures and comments for his fans.

Cristiano and his new shoes

 

The most recent one shows him playing all kind of instruments and wearing different football kits. The use of social network as a commercial tool is increasing and its should come as no surprise.Logo of the company In the case of Cristiano Ronaldo we can talk of the use of  a ‘ghost writer’ for his account. One of the reasons behind this statement is that his tweets are mostly advertising, and not very frequent Furthermore, the use of perfect English makes it hard to believe that it is entirely the work of Cristiano himself. Doubt becomes certainty when we read a disclaimer added on his profile saying that:  Digital Artist entertainment inc. is in charge of the content of the account, but also that they can use the personal data of his followers and sell them to other companies.  This company is one of the many that proposes to ‘take care’ of an individual’s Twitter account for a certain prize, and also to post a certain number of tweets every week depending on the agreement.
Company offering ghost twitter services

The Twitter paradox :

Here we can see the controversial character of athletes’ use of Twitter : on one hand we have the impossible task for the major club’s PR to limit the damage created by their players’ outbursts. On the other hand, however, the use of Twitter as a new tool of advertisement is hard to deny. Whilst the fan is informed on a daily basis of what his idol thinks, simultaneously, under the cover of a fake bond, diverse companies are trying to promote their merchandise. These are the two extremes that you can find on the microblogging website. In a way we could argue that the outbursts of athletes are true to real life conversations, and therefore that they are the ultimate proof that we are dealing with real human beings that possess feelings and are not afraid to express them. In fact, without this, would Twitter just be a boring ensemble of diverse hidden advertisement pages? The real fans would then see no interest in the social network as it would fulfil the same kind of role as a fan page on Facebook.

Twitter also allows us to learn things about players that they would never be revealed in a formal interview.  It is interesting to speculate on the future of the sport’s own response to Twitter. Will it be to restrict the player’s access to social networks? Or rather to give them communication courses on what can and can’t be said on the web? When we see the PR manager of Liverpool Jen Chang being sacked because he threatened a fan to cancel his season ticket it does raises some questions. One thing is clear to this writer however, between the politically incorrect account of Joey Barton and the incredibly boring account of Cristiano Ronaldo my choice is quickly made and I hope yours is too.

1  Ben Dir’s Blog on BBC Website : http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bendirs/2011/01/twitter_blog.html

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Can anybody be a journalist?

Who can be called a journalist? The answer isn’t so easy, but so important in a world where everything goes so fast and information has a great impact on human activities.

Today, almost anybody in the world has a smartphone and an access to the web. Anybody can post a picture, a text or a video and give a sort of information to the world. How? With the new media: Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia or YouTube. Information is so easy and so quickly widespread trough the planet. “Great evolution”, will say the ones. “Disinformation” will respond the others.

Will the professional journalists disappear?
Picture: macalester.edu

The raise of citizen journalism: the new world’s voice

People don’t want to stay silent. For many centuries, journalists have been people’s voices. They found, collected and verified the information and always searched for the truth. But with the Internet’s democratization, people don’t want to wait that the journalists let them speak. They prefer to raise their voice directly and explain or show something to the whole world.

With the advent of Internet 2.0, new media technologies, for example social networking and media-sharing websites, gave citizens the opportunity to give information. Those citizen journalists often report breaking news faster than “normal” journalists. We can cite the events of Arab Spring, which were a lot report by anonymous citizens in the heart of the revolution. Another example of this quick report and exchange of information is the “Occupy Wall Street” movement which debuted on September 17th 2011.

Syrian activists send information with their computer.
Picture: bbc.co.uk

A really actual example is Syrian crisis. The country is closed and inhospitable for the journalists. But Syrian people who live the war post videos and testimonies on YouTube, social media or blogs. They claim their story and give a reality that many journalists just can’t report. It benefits to the citizens in the world, to realize what’s happening there!

Chris Shaw, the editorial director of ITN, a Britannic production society, said to The Guardian that social networks were opening up “whole new vistas for documentary filmmakers. You can make the most amazing films using content from social networks, sometimes with the permission and sometimes without the permission of the people who shot them.”

This reality takes all its sense with the Syrian crisis. “There are places like Syria where journalists haven’t been able to go and […] there is an extraordinary resource on social networks for current affairs, even though we have to take extraordinary caution to verify what we use”, said Chris Shaw.

Let’s see a short funny video, but with interesting points of reflection. “No no, I’m the journalist!”:

Let people participate

What we can observe today, is that many classical media websites give people the possibility to react and deepen the information. You can let comments in the website’s blog for example. Professional journalists are not alone anymore, because readers give a feedback and let them know what they think about the article and more globally about the topic.

Other media are based on the concept that citizens can contribute to the news by giving information or sharing links, but with the control and the work of professional journalists behind. This is the case of Digital Journal or Rue89 in France for example. But is it citizen journalism? I don’t think so. We can call this hybrid journalism, because citizens and professional journalists work together.

But some websites or blogs are entirely “citizen made”. You, I, anybody can add an article and participate to information’s transmission. But these platforms ask the contributors to share valuable and verified information, and grant themselves the right to remove an inappropriate content. For example, we can mention the Quebec’s website centpapiers or the better known Wikinews.

American information’s channel CNN launched in 2008 its new participative site: CNN iReport. This website is only based on citizens content. They can post a story, picture, commentary or video and create the news. What is interesting with this concept is that CNN’s journalists sometimes select a subject and diffuse it on the classic channels. With this system, citizens can really be a part of the media agenda setting.

Citizens, yes! Citizen journalists, no!

So where is the difference between a citizen and a professional journalist? Well, let’s go back to the very base of journalism: giving information. Information isn’t just a concept; it’s the reality, the truth, what’s really happening. Yes, journalism is “making information” and transmitting this information to the people; a full-time job!

Here are some answer people gave to the question “Who should be called a journalist?” on ijnet (international journalist’s network):

If we set aside the fact that professional journalists work for a media and are paid for this, we must consider that journalists respond to some exigencies and rules. They have to verify the sources, analyze them, explain the events, replace them in their context and be as objective as possible. And the journalists must respect deontological rules. Do the citizen journalists respect those exigencies? Because they must, instead we just can’t call them journalists.

Another point is that a professional journalist isn’t in the commentary when he writes an article. When a citizen journalist writes, we often observe committed comments. Professional journalist informs, when online citizen testifies to what he sees, ears or notices.

But today, citizens contribution is a wealth for journalists. An inexhaustible source of ideas and materials than can be used. And it forces journalists to do their job: treat information and not only transmit it as it is. Citizens make their citizen’s job, when they transmit something important and newsworthy to the journalists.

You’re a citizen, a journalist, or maybe a citizen journalist: what do you think? Leave you comments!

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When radio meets social media

Source: Ludovic Péron

Reading this article will give you a glimpse to how a Swiss media company succeeded in combining radio and social media. The company created an innovative program where social networks became the source of information.

When the Web 2.0 era first started pointing its nose in our lives, we mostly heard of the incompatibility between traditional media and social media. Today, I am more than ever convinced that both of them can go through life hand in hand. Why so?

By now, if you’re not living like a hermit – but then again if you are reading me right now, you are definitely not ! – you’ll have probably already witnessed the booming use of Facebook comments and tweets on your favorite television programs, no? Well, this practice is already widespread in the USA and  is starting to grow in France.

After the celebration of the wedding between television and Twitter, Radio Télévision Suisse (also called RTS) has been willing to provide us with a unique swiss union between the radio and social media. An innovative radio program came to light on February 2012: “En Ligne Directe“. The program is broadcasted on the channel “La Première” and is based on public participation via social media.

However, the radio being a non visual medium, how could such a combination of medias be possible? On the most simplest way. Yes, really! But one should have thought of that. Inspired by the program “Your Call” from the BBC Scotland radio, the idea of ​​RTS is to integrate social media with a radio program thanks to a multimedia team and a facilitator who manages everything together. 

Concretely, “En Ligne Directe” is a radio program that will deal, on a day to day basis, with hot issues (either local, national or international) in the form of a debate during which the audience participates. “But the debate is not a new concept “, you say? In fact, what is new in this program is that listeners and Internet users can take part in the debate, not only by telephone but also via social media.

Every evening, one of the program presenters publishes a question to the audience on Twitter, Facebook and on En Ligne Directe‘s mobile application. This question will be the topic discussed on air the next morning.

Internet users can then share their opinions and/or discuss the topic of the day on these social networks. The host of “En Ligne Directe”, Magali Philip, will also take an active part in discussing the topics on the social networks, and this until 10.30pm. She collects the opinions of Internet users posted on social networks.

In parallel, the public also has the possibility to record a voice message via the “En Ligne Directe” mobile application which allows them to send their opinion to the Radio program.

The show is broadcasted every day from 8am to 8.30 am. During those 30 minutes on air, the facilitator summarizes the discussions that took place during the previous evenings on social networks. She also cites comments made by users, and broadcasts few collection of voice messages sent from the mobile application. The program gives the opportunity to listeners that call the studio to have their voice and opinion heard on air. If you click on the following link, you will find a video report realized by RTS about “En Ligne Directe” explaining how the program works. (Video only available in French. Sorry for those who do not understand french).

The combination of all these ingredients is a successful recipe: it gathers 210,000 daily listeners. If you have always dreamt to speak up and give your opinion publicly as well as a fervent news follower, then this program is made for you ! It gives the public the opportunity to take part in the public debate and to contribute to the realization of information (i.e. the idea of ​​citizen journalism).

Source: unknown

That’s a good concept for the public, but not only! This program also has benefits for the RTS company. It allows the company to evolve along with social media while taking advantage from them. Indeed, for “En Ligne Directe” social media are not only a source of audience for the program’s web platforms, but also for all the media channels of the company (TV channels, radio channels, Website, etc.). More precisely, the debates taking place on “En Ligne Directe” program are the opportunity to invite Internet users and listeners to learn more about topics treated and in this way it encourages the public to use the information provided by RTS in its various channels.

Source: RTS

So this is the way how RTS operates to take advantage of social media – marrying social media with classical media in order to catch the audience attention and staying along with Web 2.0 developments.

Being myself keen on following the latest and “hottest” news, I was excited about the whole concept of the show. However, as all of us out there, I am a terribly busy person and I do not have the time to participate in the debates on social medias. Therefor, no time to listen to the radio at 8am. Although, this is not a problem! The RTS has a solution for every situation! If you can also describe yourself as an extremely busy person, get yourself on Storify as soon as you have a few minutes off your crazy life, and read the discussions’ summary where you will find the best comments and tweets.

So now we know the theory about this innovative media concept, you are probably asking yourself: « In practice, is that complicated? ». The answer is « Not at all » ! The only requirements are: having a phone or Smartphone… but who doesn’t own one nowadays? And being motivated in giving your opinion on a topic, of course!

So, you, dear reader, will you dare in taking part to a debate with all those exciting possibilities to express yourself ?

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Instagram: a teen-toy or the new reporter tool?

“Instagram photos cheat the viewer!” Nick Stern’s claim, published in February 2012 on cnn.com, came as a bombshell, engendering pros and cons-reactions in the journalism and photo-reporting world. Who’s right? Let’s have a look!

With more than 30 millions of users and about 150 photographs posted (see article on Wikipedia), the photo-editing and social-networking app Instagram can be described as one of the most successful Smartphone tools. Among its users; teenagers, adults, singers, actors, politicians and, of course, journalists!

Yet the journalistic use of Instagram in a professional perspective has created a huge debate on the web since last February. The vexed question: can journalists and photojournalists honestly use Instagram as a professional tool, to cover a war or a political meeting, or has it to remain a “toy” only good to post pictures of your breakfast or your new nail-art?

To see Benjamin Lowy complete Instagram-reportage on the Afghanistan conflit, click on the picture!

Cheating with reality?

For some photographers no hesitation, Instagram has nothing to do with information and journalism. Here are some of their main arguments. But before, here you go with a video that shows you how Instagram works and what are its main features:

Filters and fake emotions

Photographs bring emotion, related to the subject, to the viewer’s history but also thanks to the way the picture is taken. Regarding this, the anti-Instagramers are clear: Instagram kills the authenticity, creativity and originality of your pictures.

For Nick Stern (see the complete article here and his website here), American news photographer and first anti-Instagram pamphleteer, the pictures taken with the app do not communicate real emotions, conveyed by the photographer, as it should. “It’s the work of an app designer in Palo Alto who decided that a nice shallow focus and dark faded border would bring out the best in the image”, he claims, “The image never existed in any other place than the eye of the app developer”.

“The greatest photographs are created in the mind of the photographer and not in the workings of the camera.” Nick Stern

Moreover, with 14 different filters, the variety of pictures is indeed quite large however rather limited. According to its accusers, Instagram creates therefore photographic standards, which enchain the users, kill their creativity and prevent them from expressing their emotions.

But was it not already the case with silver films? Indeed, during the development process, the photographer could use different chemical techniques such as cross-processing and could therefore add something external to the picture.

Aesthetics against information duty

Showing reality objectively is one of the main goals of any journalists. For the anti-Instagramers, using an app that adds effects on a picture in order to make it look fancier or nicer does not fit the profession ethics. That is why Nick Stern says that “Every time a news organization uses a Hipstamatic or Instagram-style picture in a news report, they are cheating us all”.

However aesthetics is a part of photography anyway such as subjectivity. Photographers are dealing with image and cannot completely distance themselves from the visual dimension of their job.

As Joerg Colberg, an American photographer says “We all know that all photography is fiction: as a photographer you make choices, which influence the photograph enough for it to be more of a fiction than a fact. […] But the photojournalist’s task, no actually the photojournalist’s duty is to minimize the amount of fiction that enters her/his photography. […] The problem with InstaHip in this particular context is it adds a huge amount of fiction to photography, simply by its aesthetic” (see the complete article here).

Filters and effects have always been part of the game.

News Trivialisation

Another problem raised by the accusers is that the majority of the Instagram pictures deal with the users’ every day life: meals, hobbies, fashion, cosmetics, friends, family and pets. Mixing serious news pictures with these trivial subjects minimizes their value and their informational impact.

“Since in the dominant context, people’s social lives, InstaHip photographs are usually not seen as particularly relevant, once you use InstaHip as a photojournalist you’re applying that same kind of thinking to your images. You’re trivializing your message.” Joerg Colberg

Why so unserious?

Maybe the solution would be to create a parallel network, which would share the same technical features and would be exclusively destined to news companies, a kind of Infostagram! But we will come back to that later.

The Like button tyranny

As other social networks, Instagram allows the users to share their pictures on other social medias such as Facebook and Twitter and proposes a comment option and a Like button.

American panelists wondered to which extent “Instagram’s Like button, combined with the image filters, has turned the service into performance art, with people trying to rack up Likes for the most aesthetically striking images” explains Steve Myers in his article on Instagram (see the complete article here). A sort of photographic social desirability!

As we will see later, these social network features can also be positive for journalists. In the mean time, to read more about the Like-culture problematic, click here.

Vintage overdose

You can see it in fashion: vintage is trendy! And photography is no exception to the rule. Instagram, with its Instamatic and Polaroid-inspired effect perfectly incarnates this trend (see this article here). But as Jean Cocteau said “Fashion is what goes out of fashion.” Thus, the risk that Instagram becomes outmoded is real.

What risk for journalism then? Since Instagram becomes has-been, the information broadcasted on it will not be seen as relevant by its users or its ex-users. The value of information will be at stake.

Moreover, is not information supposed to be related to the here and now, to the burning issues and not focused on the past?

Instamatic Kodak 100, 1963

Polaroid One Step, ’80

Connecting people?

Does Instagram look like the Devil to you now? Fortunately some positive and helpful aspects can also be highlighted, all related to the social dimension of the app.

Information network

As already said, Instagram is not only a photo-editing app, it also allows the user to create an extended network, to follow people and to get followers. Videos on Youtube actually show you how to be followed by the maximum of users. Do you remember what we have said about the Like button tyranny?

More seriously Instagram can become a real information feed, through the channels of news companies or through the topics dealt with on the official blog of the app (see here). However, at the moment, the media channels remain extremely poor and unfed. The only one which seems active is the CNN’s, perhaps because of its US origin and destination. Here are some examples taken from Webstagram, the Internet viewer of the app.

One of the rare successful examples of use is the covering of the New York Fashion Week 2012 by the New York Times. The journalists present on the site provided 450 pictures through the account created for this occasion, visible here. With 156’319 followers, the operation was a real success.

Another example: the National Geographic launched a blog fed with climbers’ Instagram pictures called “Field test – On Everest”. The Instagram feed of the magazine, visible here, is also well provided with pictures.

However the company seems less tolerant regarding the pictures sent by its readers. In a message on the company website, the photography director encouraged the National Geogrpahic readers to avoid sending them modified pictures:

This desire of authenticity and objectivity matches the cons arguments presented previously regarding Instagram.

The non-professional Keystone

If the National Geographic had a really ethical reaction regarding photography, this is not the case for some other medias. Indeed Instagram can be used as a kind of a non-professional Keystone.

Let’s think about several showbiz articles written by the 20minutes about Rihanna’s tattoo or Kim Kardashian’s look. The information comes directly from what the celebrities post on Instagram as a primary source. Even if we are talking about famous people, this is what we call crowdsourcing or UGC (User Generated Content).

In a more serious perspective, a new app has been developed, called “Signal”, a mix between Instagram and Foursquare. With this app, you can post pictures and geolocalize them.

Normal citizens and journalists will thus be able to get informed of the events happening in their country or their area. What happened with Twitter during the Arab Spring could also happen thanks to photographs (see complete article here).

Democratisation of photography

One of the main arguments against Nick Stern’s article was that his vision of photography was elitist. Let’s think about Mathew Ingram’s article (available here) who vividly criticizes this vision.

Likewise, the photographer and photography teacher Richard Koci Hernandez praises the new possibilities of interacting with the audience offered by Instagram: “More people are now being exposed to my journalism than ever before […] Now I have access to literally the entire world.” (see complete article here).

Thus, for Instagram-defenders, using this app is also a way to have access to a form of art production, which was by now saved for professionals and artists. But can we honestly put on the same level the technique required by an SLR camera manipulation and the use of a mobile phone?

A matter of perspective

As we have seen, no categorical answer to the Instagram problematic can be given. Asking what a relevant photograph or a worthy photographer should be requires also to ask what photography is. A hobby? A job? An art? The three of them? Maybe the answer lies in the context or the personal perspective in which the picture is taken.

Let’s think about Benjamin Lowy’s work in Afghanistan. He used Instagram but did not betray what the journalist Alex Garcia calls “the vision and mission of photojournalism – [he is] applying a creative aesthetic that adds meaning or accessibility to [his] images” (see complete article here).

Anyway we should not forget that, Instagram or not, photography is always a matter of choice. By then, watch the birdie!

By Lea Gloor

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Tutorial: the use of social networks (Twitter and Facebook) as a journalist

Both Twitter and Facebook cannot be ignored any more when talking about the World Wide Web. Thus are they surely to be considered when using the amazing internet tool as a journalist. Let’s now have a look at how to get the best of it!

Guillaume Laurent

The social networks, by the number of subscribers they gather, are a rich source of information, as well as an amazing showcase. Therefore, it can be used by journalists in a number of ways: to always be aware of what is going on and interesting people, to try to get people to give their opinion about a subject, to get some feedbacks about an article, or to extend one’s readership and number of followers. In the interest of being more accurate, I’ll focus here only on the use of Twitter and Facebook Here are the few tips you will need to be an efficient social network journalist!

Three things to know when using social networks as a source

1-      Verification must without contest be your main concern when using social networks as a source. If social networks can often be much quicker than traditional Medias to provide a story, they cannot be trusted, and the journalist must look around to see if other users or legitimate sources providers can confirm the story.

2-      You have to develop your own trusted network within social Medias. Getting the wider choice among a group of users you now are trustworthy is a powerful asset for a journalist using social networks.

3-      You must be systematic when using social Medias as a source. By doing the same ritual times and times again, you will gain a more accurate judgment about what is said on social networks, and thereafter win a lot in efficiency.

Social Medias as a source for journalists

Social Medias as a source for journalists – Oriella PR Networks

Three things to know when using social networks to gather opinions

1-      Think about your personal experience on social networks. In which circumstances would you give your opinion? Which kind of question would you actually answer and which kind you wouldn’t? It will give you a valuable clue to guess how to manage your audience and get the best of it.

2-      Before looking after opinions, you have to decide if you want to get a number based statistic answer or rather a few interesting witnesses. You will get more answers with a question that can be answered only by “yes” or “no”, but an open question will often give you more information to deal with.

3-      Create a debate. To give their opinion about a specific subject, people must feel concerned, disturbed, annoyed or enthusiasm. Therefore you should give a direction to your question, give something of yourself to push your followers to react. .

Three things to know when using social networks to get some feedbacks about one’s articles

1-      Getting a lot of feedbacks can be dangerous for your website. If you want to advertise using social networks you will have to be ready to assume de consequences. I mean managing properly de comments posted on your page or website. Otherwise, spamming or provocative answers will quickly suffocate the debate.

2-      Before advertising on social networks, you must be aware that everything you will post, included answers to readers, comments or random posts, will be considered as a part of your work and evaluated and criticize in this sense. There for having separates account for your private life and your job can be very useful.

3-      Post pictures and videos to get attention. Even if your work is mainly based on writing, you will have to use pictures and videos. It will surely get you more feedback, and images are what modern internet journalism is all about.

Three things to know when using social networks to extend one’s readership

1-      “Tweet your beat”, the advice was given by Lauren Invik, from the social medias specialized website marshable.com. If you want to get some authority on social networks and bring in something more than the millions of other users, you have to be a specialist. That means tweeting or publishing on Facebook only when you know exactly what you are talking about. Giving your opinion on random subjects is not a plan for a good social networks journalist.

2-       Being a specialist also includes being among the first to get the news about your favorite subject. Therefore is it necessary to give to your audience more than your own stories. Using in a wise way the retweet or share opportunity will help you a lot while trying to please your followers and make your account attractive.

3-      Link as much as possible your publications. The hashtag and the “@” button are crucial not only to reach a wider public, but also to show your sources and make your information safe and valuable. Websites like tagboard.com are based on the use of the “@” and de hashtag and often used by people to look for news about a specific subject.

So, fellow journalists, have you already been using successfully social Medias in your work? Would you add some advices to the previous shortlist? This article is meant to be updated and enhanced by your contribution!

To become a perfect social Media journalist: more advices with this Youtube vidéo from BeatBlogging.Org

More on the subject with this France 2 TV show about Twitter brodcasted in 2010

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How citizen journalism landscaped the Egyptian Uprising

Ever heard of Wael Ghonim, Ramy Raoof, Alaa Abdel Fattah, Manal Hassan, Mahmoud Salem or Hossam El-Hamalawy? Those are just a few names amongst many bloggers, cyberactivists and citizen journalists who shaped the Egyptian Revolution and traditional media landscape. The world made them famous during and after the 18 days of the Egyptian Uprising. This article will give you a glimpse at the role these citizen journalists played during the Revolution, but also in Egypt in general. Sara Bandelier

Source: Awais Chaudhry

If you want to free a society just give them Internet access – Wael Ghonim

Since the 1950s, Egypt’s state media has been owned and controlled by those who govern. From Nasser to Mubarak, national media had only covered stories they were told to cover and showed a unique perspective promoting the presidential regime. Traditional media then meant propaganda.

The Internet wasn’t slow in sweeping the dusty media landscape in Egypt. On the contrary, Egyptian citizen journalists were training and learning from those new technological tools long before the 2011 Revolution.

The Kefaya movement in 2004, the April 6th movement in 2008 and the October 9th Maspero protest in 2011 shaped the way Egyptian citizen journalism would have an impact on a national and international scene. From learning how to use ghost servers to street reporting, Egyptian activists were ready to attract the attention of millions of people and challenge the regime.

Source: Al Jazeera

It’s the new media, the people’s media, that exposes the truth – Hany Shukrallah, editor of Ahram Online 

The Egyptian cyberactivists and citizen journalists took upon themselves to show the world the true face of Egypt’s political and military regime. A face that violently silences the voices of those who seek change, who question Egypt’s regime and who fight for their rights (see We are all Khaled Said Facebook page).

Facebook gave them the possibility to organize street protests and connect people with similar opinions, Youtube promoted video footage filmed by citizen journalists. These videos were then relayed by traditional medias. Twitter helped coordinate protests and reach international media by recording the activities and events during the uprising.

There is a burgeoning movement for press freedom in Egypt – Sharif Abdel Kouddous

On the one hand, there was controlled state-media. On the other, the openness of Internet. With those two components, citizen journalism could only play a big role in such a Revolution. Not only for nagging the authority, attracting the attention of international media, or Egyptians. Citizen journalism had a role to play given the challenges professional journalists had to face when trying to do their work.

You might ask yourselves, as I did, how can a citizen journalist outrun a professional journalist?

You’re in an angry street filled with protestors who do not have a very good opinion of traditional media. A square where the police and military are watching all of your moves and ready to attack you. You are there, with your camera, a microphone and all those other little things journalists need, trying to interview people and film the event… not very discreet!

Source: Mohamed Omar / EPA

Laurent Burkhalter, a Swiss TV journalist, recounts how a mob turned against his camera man and himself in the Choubra district of Cairo, one week after the demonstrations had started. ” For many days, the state TV had been saying that foreign journalists were in fact Israeli spies in disguise and agitators. The crowd accused us of being precisely that and despite our attempt to reason with them, they attacked my camera man, injuring him and breaking his camera.”

What could professional journalists do then? Well, there weren’t a lot of options left. Either acting as Al Jazeera did when the police shut down their offices: abandon their cameras and blend in the mass. Or, film from an apartment building.

What would you rather want to see when seeking for news about the uprising? Footage and pictures of citizen journalists who are in the crowd or footages taken by professional journalists who need to stay locked up in an apartment? The answer was clear for some professional journalists who increasingly relied on amateur materiel.

“Many foreign journalists were attacked, but taking risks is part of their job. The people who really risked their lives were the citizens who demonstrated while filming, or not, against their regime”, says Laurent Burkhalter.

As Hossam El-Hamalawy said “[egyptian] newspaper journalists would cite bloggers who posted the videos, thus absolving themselves of direct responsibility for the story. Alternative media is used by the traditional media so the news can reach tens of millions of people in this way”.

Seeing the importance of citizen journalism, activists came together to build up citizen media collectives that would teach people how to use their phones to record and photograph the uprising. Mosireen and Rassd News Network (RNN) are the two major citizen journalism collectives. They collected the videos and pictures, fact-checked and formatted them before publishing them online.

For you to judge the effectiveness of such a work, below is footage edited by two members of the Mosireen collective: Cressida Trew and Aida El Kashef.

[…] the Mosireen activists staged a series of public screenings of video that challenged official accounts of clashes, like the claim that the security forces only used force against “thugs”, not peaceful protesters“. More than showing the truth, the citizen journalism collectives aimed to pave the way for the state egyptian media to follow.

However, I wondered how could one know whom to trust or not? Indeed, the risk of manipulation is great. “In conflict, the first casualty is always truth. Both sides try to gain the upper hand through false information, both offline and online. For example, there were constant rumors in Cairo that Mubarak had left the country during the Revolution, before it was over”, says Laurent Burkhalter.

Journalists moved cautiously in such a rumor prone environment. One day, according to Laurent Burkhalter,  “the foreign press in the hotel lobby was talking about a massive shipment of live ammunition that supposedly had just arrived in town, and that the army was going to use it on the demonstrators. So we just did our job, talking to as many different people as possible, cross referencing every assertion”.

The beauty of online information is that it is immediately cross checkable. The mass of bloggers coinciding with the same version of events gave a clear, credible narrative of the revolution.

When us bloggers began to post videos, that gave courage to traditional journalists to cover the story as well – Hossam El-Hamalawy 

In just a few words, Hossam El-Hamalawy shows us how citizen journalism didn’t just cover the Egyptian uprising. Neither did it only aim to show the truth. Citizen journalism proved that freedom of press and expression was possible, thanks to the Internet.

Even when the government shut down access to social media, nothing stopped the Egyptians. As Wael Ghonim said on the Travis Smiley Show, “it made us think we are stronger. Many Egyptians also moved down in the streets on January 28th because the internet was closed”. Citizen journalists, bloggers and cyberactivists drew so much attention that the world was at their feet. It needed the information and had to support the movement. Unprecedented help came to the Egyptians to get them Internet and mobile access.

Internet gave the feeling that others cared about what is happening – David Keyes

That is a quote I could not agree with more. This feeling gave the Egyptians the courage they needed to be active online, and therefore attract dozens of thousands of people who would then have the courage to brave the Egyptian government offline.

Combining the online and offline activism is what led them to win their battle. Citizen journalism gave them the possibility to open our – everyone’s – eyes, to see the truth, to understand the battle and to grasp the importance of freedom of press and speech. The active role of citizen journalism during the Egyptian Uprising showed national media that their role wasn’t propaganda but saying the truth!

Wael Ghonim explaining the 2.0 Egyptian Revolution at the TED conference.

The amount of videos, interviews, posts and news relayed by international media proves the major role citizen journalists played during the Egyptian Revolution. Not a single media hasn’t mentioned the faces of those cyberactivists: BBC, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, New York Times, The Guardian, Radio Télévision Suisse, you name it, have all fed on their stories and posts.

Screenshot of Google’s page: articles written by the BBC on Egyptian bloggers

I am convinced citizen journalism had its role to play during the Egyptian Uprising, and still has a lot to do today to continue its goal in shaping a new landscape for traditional egyptian media.

Tell me, what kind of role do you think citizen journalism played during the Egyptian Uprising? And, how do you think the Egyptian Revolution would have turned out without citizen journalism?

To conclude, here’s a video that has been widely spread on Youtube, Facebook and on News channels.

 

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Famous people and social media

Nowadays, social media have become a “must have”. A “must have” for us, simple citizen of the world, to be part of the worldwide communication process. But, for those we call celebrities, social networking is a powerful tool. Indeed, using social media, famous people reach directly the public. A strategy directed to involve their fans in their daily life and by the way to get more success and popularity.

Obviously celebrities need their fans to support and grow their careers. Imagine for a second you were someone famous, wouldn’t you want as many fans as possible? Sure you would have loved to. So entertaining the fans is part of the job. And by sharing on social media aspects of their life, stars let people be part of it. A great opportunity to escape from the boring everyday life fans have to deal with. Let’s take a concrete example: Lady Gaga is completely addicted to social networking. She currently tweets and interacts with her fans she calls her little monsters. And instead of just posting her moods, pictures or advertisements, she makes the effort to answer the comments. Another example is Justin Bieber. The young singer who was discovered on YouTube is a child of social networking. So interacting with the public is a way to thank people for giving him his chance.

Twitter top 10 in July 2012
Source: www.socialtimes.com

Facebook top 10 in July 2012
Source: www.socialtimes.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing the real reality

A lot of information isn’t provided by the paparazzi anymore but by the stars themselves on their social networks profiles. Today, famous people especially use Facebook and Twitter but many others like Youtube and MySpace are also popular. Using those networks, stars have various purposes. It can be to promote their campaigns, invite the public to an event but also to let the world know other sides of them before the magazines do.

Social media have given these people a new power. Tired of being hunted down by paparazzi who often turn the reality in a way to have a scoop to sell; celebrities have found a way to communicate what they want. Thanks to social networking they can show the real person without any Photoshop, censoring or cuts. They can simply be themselves and show the sides of their lives they want to show without silencing their words. Social networks have allowed these people to get down from the untouchable pedestal of celebrity and become human. Yes, by using those networks they are just behaving like normal citizen of the world.

Youtube top 10 in July 2012
Source: www.socialtimes.com

Google+ top 10 in July 2012
Source: www.socialtimes.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good but also bad consequences

Although there is a lot of good that can come from social media, there is also some bad. As an example we can cite Tom Daley, an English diving star. During the London’s Olympics, someone twitted him a bad comment about his father’s death. That’s one of the reasons why some famous people make the decision to stay private and avoid social networks and direct contacts with their fans. According to me, you can avoid troubles fixing a limit not to go through while revealing your private life to all. Like avoiding sharing the too personal events.

Another problem is the fake profiles. Lots of accounts are made by simple citizens who pretend to be the celebrity they represent. Therefore to avoid any kind of disappointment, fans must be aware and choose the social network profile to visit or follow with a great deal of care.

By Lea Huszno

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